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A man in South Africa taking the PrEP pill. Photo: Daniel Born/The Times/Gallo Images/Getty Images

A government panel issued draft recommendations Tuesday stating that anyone at high risk of contracting the HIV virus should receive a daily prophylactic pill, called PrEP, that's been shown to reduce HIV transmission via sex by up to 90% and via drug needles by up to 70%.

Why it matters: Around 1.1 million Americans live with the HIV infection, including about 15% who are unaware they have it. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there were roughly 1.1 million Americans at high risk who were eligible for PrEP in 2015, but found that only 38,879 used the highly effective medicine.

"We want people to understand there are important preventative interventions that are really making a difference."
— Douglas Owens, U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) vice chairperson, to Axios

Background: Pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, is a daily pill that combines two antiretroviral drugs, tenofovir disoproxil fumarate and emtricitabine. Before taking the drug, potential recipients need to show a recent test proving they are HIV-free.

Details: The USPSTF made two main recommendations. One was to reiterate their prior stance that there should be HIV screening in people ages 15–65 and in all pregnant women. The new recommendation, Owens says, is that PrEP should be considered for anyone at high risk, including ...

  • Men who have sex with other men, are sexually active and have one of the following: an HIV-positive partner, a recent sexually transmitted disease like syphilis or gonorrhea, or a lack of consistent condom use.
  • Heterosexual women and men who are sexually active and have one of the following: an HIV-positive partner, an inconsistent use of condoms during sex with a partner whose HIV status is not known or a recent STD.
  • A person who injects drugs and either shares needles or has a sexual risk of getting HIV.
"This is important because PrEP can be quite effective at reducing HIV transmission. ... Of course, there are other important steps to take — like use condoms, practice safe sex and don't share needles."
— Owens

What's next: Comments will be accepted until Dec. 26, and the USPSTF hopes to issue final guidelines "as soon as we can," Owens said.

Go deeper: AIDS epidemic could effectively end if steps taken, Fauci says

Go deeper

Kaine, Collins' censure resolution seeks to bar Trump from holding office again

Sen. Tim Kaine (center) and Sen. Susan Collins (right). Photo: Andrew Harnik/Pool via Getty Images

Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) are forging ahead with a draft proposal to censure former President Trump, and are considering introducing the resolution on the Senate floor next week.

Why it matters: Senators are looking for a way to condemn Trump on the record as it becomes increasingly unlikely Democrats will obtain the 17 Republican votes needed to gain a conviction, Axios Alayna Treene writes. "I think it’s important for the Senate's leadership to understand that there are alternatives," Kaine told CNN on Wednesday.

Stark reminder for America's corporate leaders

Rosalind "Roz" Brewer is about to become only the second Black woman to permanently lead a Fortune 500 company. She starts as Walgreens CEO on March 15.

Why it matters: It's a stark reminder of how far corporate America's top decision-makers have to go during an unprecedented push by politicians, employees and even a stock exchange to diversify their top ranks.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Updated 3 hours ago - Technology

Apple's quarterly sales top $100 billion for first time

Credit: Apple

Spurred by strong sales of the latest iPhones, Apple reported it took in a record $111 billion in revenue for the three months ended Dec. 31, as the company crushed expectations.

Why it matters: The move showed even a pandemic didn't dull demand for Apple's latest smartphones.